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Rams

Pass-and-catch chemistry between Jared Goff and Cooper Kupp continues to flourish

Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp picks up yards against the Browns’ defense during Sunday’s 20-13 victory.
Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp picks up yards against the Browns’ defense during Sunday’s 20-13 victory.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

The connection between Rams quarterback Jared Goff and receiver Cooper Kupp appears to be getting even stronger.

On Sunday against the Cleveland Browns, Kupp caught a career-best 11 passes for 102 yards and two touchdowns in the Rams’ 20-13 victory at FirstEnergy Stadium.

“It’s a lot of Jared trusting me to be in the right place at the right time,” said Kupp, who scored on plays of 11 yards in the third quarter and six yards in the fourth.

Goff completed 24 of 38 passes for 269 yards and the two touchdowns, with two interceptions.

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Brandin Cooks caught eight passes for 112 yards. Robert Woods had three receptions for 40 yards.

But Goff most often found Kupp, who has come back from a season-ending knee injury he suffered in 2018.

“He just continues to get himself open,” Goff said, “and he finds ways to be on the same page as me.”

Bold move

One of the most surprising decisions in the game came near the midway point of the fourth quarter when the Browns, facing a fourth and nine at the Rams 40, went for it rather than punting. Even more surprising, they ran a draw play with running back Nick Chubb that safety Eric Weddle stuffed for a gain of two. Turnover on downs.

“We weren’t really expecting a draw,” Weddle said. “Once I saw that, I just beelined there. It’s all or nothing at that point.”

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Defensive end Michael Brockers figured the Browns were trying to catch them off guard, banking the pass rushers would overrun the play.

“We were definitely heads-up on if they didn’t snap the ball, we didn’t want an offsides or anything like that,” Brockers said. “We were a little bit hesitant. I think they were thinking they’d hit us, because earlier in the game they hit us with a screen on a blitz. We did a good job of switching it up on them and getting all hats to the ball.”

Starting point

Tight end Gerald Everett caught two passes for 15 yards in his first start since his rookie season in 2017.

Everett played in place of starter Tyler Higbee, who suffered a bruised lung in the Rams’ 27-9 victory over the New Orleans Saints.

Jamil Demby started at right guard in place of Austin Blythe, who suffered an ankle sprain against the Saints.

Demby’s presence in the lineup gave the Rams three second-year players — center Brian Allen and left guard Joe Noteboom were the others — on the interior line.

In the second quarter, Demby got beat for a sack on third down that forced the Rams to try a field goal. Greg Zuerlein’s 48-yard attempt was wide right.

On the Rams’ next series, Demby was cited for a false start on third down. On the next play, Myles Garrett sacked Goff and forced a fumble. The Browns returned the fumble to the Rams 17.

The Browns kicked a field goal to take a 6-3 lead.

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Demby also was called for a false start on a third and goal from the one in the fourth quarter, but Goff passed for a touchdown on the next play.

Slow start

The Rams’ troubles scoring touchdowns in the first quarter continued.

Zuerlein’s 53-yard field goal in the first quarter against the Browns gave them a 3-0 lead.

The Rams did not score in the first quarter of their 30-27 season-opening victory over the Carolina Panthers.

Zuerlein kicked a first-quarter field goal in the Rams’ victory over the Saints.

Challenge denied

The Rams were at the center of a noncall controversy in last season’s NFC championship game, and the NFL subsequently adopted a rule that allows coaches to challenge noncalls for possible pass interference.

In the second quarter, after a Goff pass intended for Cooks was nearly intercepted before falling incomplete, coach Sean McVay challenged the noncall.

Upon review, the ruling on the field was upheld.

Honor roll

Clay Matthews Jr., the father of Rams linebacker Clay Matthews, was inducted into the Browns’ ring of honor during a halftime ceremony.

The elder Matthews played linebacker for 19 seasons, 16 with the Browns.

Matthews is the 17th player to be inducted into the team’s ring of honor. The other 16 inductees are also in the Hall of Fame. Matthews, a four-time Pro Bowl selection, has been a semifinalist three times.

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The Rams’ Matthews delivered a pretaped speech as part of the ceremony.

“I was able to catch him at the tail end of his speech at halftime,” Matthews said. “It was cool to see. It looked like he got emotional up there.”


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